...I was working the night shift in those days. Eleven to seven. The kind of lifestyle only a vampire or a night owl could fully appreciate.
My oldest was nearing his fifth birthday, his younger brother still in diapers, stumbling about on a set of knobby knees, and a belly that prevented him from seeing what his toes looked like.
On this particular morning, a day playing host to a cloudless sky so blue, its beauty boasted the strength to cause even the most disgruntled of my coworkers to pause in wonder, I was asked to stay over an hour or two in order to catch up on the day's workload. I grudgingly agreed.
The drive home proved uneventful. Indian Summer was in full swing, the sun's glare squeezing tears from a set of eyes that were desperate for a warm bed in a dark room, a rarity at the time.
A flock of geese flew overhead, their 'V' formation pointed toward South Beach. I figured they probably had a month to spare before the winds grew wicked, and they'd be forced to ride out the inevitable winter storm.
I can remember the steady flow of traffic in my exhausted state. A young mother pushing her toddler on the sidewalk, a set of tiny velcro-strapped shoes poking out of a hooded stroller.
I remember sitting at a red light, and despite my fatigue, rather enjoying the morning commute.
And I remember turning on the radio, listening to the a.m. headlines...
The television was already on when I burst through the front door. My wife, who rarely watches much TV to this day, was standing before the screen, her mouth agape. She offered me a glance, an index finger drawing my attention to the source of her shocked expression. I joined her in the living room, the two of us standing before the television, watching as billowing smoke and plumes of fire burst from a building in New York City.
At our feet, the boys had awakened, one of them already whining for breakfast, the other simply concentrating on placing one foot in front of the other without losing his balance. On this day however, their needs were not tended to with the normal promptness that they'd grown accustomed to receiving.
"They're not sure what happened," my wife said. "Maybe a bomb or something."
"It's all over the radio," I said.
"It's all over everywhere," she said.
And as we watched, standing before our television on that sun-filled autumn morning, an airplane entered the corner of our screen. There was a moment of confusion, no more than a second at most, as the jetliner angled its descent, pointing its nose at the second building.
I sucked in a breath, and by then it was over.
A tug on my pant leg caused me to glance down at my son, using my frozen posture as his support beam. He considered my shocked expression, giggled as if the world had not changed forever only a moment earlier, and then continued on his way, one step at a time...
That's where I was when it happened. Where were you?